State Grants Go to County Recycling Coordinators
To improve the performance of recycling programs and increase participation, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced nearly $1.4 million in grants to reimburse 57 counties for a portion of salaries and expenses associated with employing recycling coordinators.
"Having dedicated personnel at the county level is essential to improving the performance of recycling programs and participation rates of citizens," said Rendell. "These coordinators are organizing community collection efforts, analyzing financial data for their respective programs, meeting with companies to identify new markets, and acting as a key liaison between the county and the state. Ultimately, the county coordinators are playing a large role in helping these programs become financially self-sufficient."
In 2005, residents recycled a record 4.86 million tons of municipal waste, saving consumers and industries nearly $263 million in disposal costs and providing businesses with materials valued at $577 million. The commonwealth's recycling and reuse industry, which employs more than 81,000 people with a total annual payroll of $2.9 billion, includes more than 3,200 establishments with total annual sales of $18.4 billion.
Additionally, the industry adds more than $305 million in taxes to the state treasury.
County recycling coordinators serve as the link between the Department of Environmental Protection and local municipal recycling and waste reduction programs, compile yearly waste and recycling reports, organize electronics and household hazardous waste collections, create and maintain waste management plans, and offer a range of other support activities to local communities.
County recycling coordinator reimbursement grants are funded by the Recycling Fund, which is supported by a $2-per-ton fee on all disposed materials at municipal waste landfills and resource recovery facilities in Pennsylvania. The grants reimburse counties for up to 50 percent of the salary and authorized expenses incurred by county recycling coordinators. The grants ranged from $4,193 for Fayette County to $54,367 to Chester County.